Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ, The Collect of the first Sunday of Lent reminded us that through the observance of Lent, God purifies His Church. On the one hand the Church, as the spotless Bride of Christ, is always pure and holy, having no life other than grace; on the other hand, in Her human aspect She is comprised of sinners, and so always in need of purification. At certain times in Her history, such as in the period leading up to the Protestant Reformation, and – distressing as it is to admit – the present age, the sinfulness of some of the Church’s members (especially among the clergy and religious) reaches a point where the Divine and supernatural reality of the Church – which can never fail in itself – is eclipsed: that is, even though this reality remains present, it is lost to our sight for a time. The mystery of Our Lord’s Transfiguration – related in today’s Gospel – strengthens and prepares the followers of Christ to face not only the “scandal” of Christ’s Passion and Death, but the scandal of sin in the midst of Christ’s Church (Our Lord also prepared us for this through various parables, such as that of the wheat and the tares, and also in His teaching about the Last Times). It is essential in times such as ours to have a keen and ever deeper sense of the supernatural reality of the Church, so that we are not only kept from discouragement, but impelled to deepen our love of the Church, and to pray and work unceasingly for Her purification and renewal. In today’s Mass, the Church places before us St Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God: and that no man overreach nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things.” Wise men observed long ago that the foundation of endemic institutional corruption is the widespread flouting of the sixth and seventh commandments. And so it should come as no surprise if sexual and financial corruption, flourish together. But St Paul reminds us that God’s justice will triumph – and Our Lord Himself assures us that there is nothing that has been hidden, that shall not be revealed in God’s time…. As most of you would be aware, a series of deeply troubling scandals in the Church has emerged in recent months. To recall just a few, without being exhaustive: the continuing saga of the 2015 appointment of Bishop Barros to the Diocese of Orsono, Chile, in the face of serious allegations of sexual abuse and cover up, and in which the truthfulness of Pope Francis’s own public statements has been called into question; the conviction in an Italian court of a judge of the Roman Rota, on child pornography charges (and the question of his appointment in the first place, when concerns had already been raised); allegations (still under investigation) of serious financial impropriety by Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras, the Pope’s trusted Secretary of the C9 Group of Cardinals; and, most recently, grave concerns relating to the alleged misdirection of some $ US 12 million from the Papal Foundation in the US, at the personal behest of Pope Francis: Leaked-docs-raise-question-of-popes-personal-role-in-new-vatican-financial We should not be surprised if those who seek to innovate in matters of faith, or undermine established doctrine, do not regard themselves as bound by the commandments. Those who seek to relativise the moral law are generally self-justifying, and often have something to hide. I wrote a few weeks ago about the situation of the Church in China. The worldly spirit that is currently dominating many of the Holy See’s decisions, continues to threaten the “Little Flock” of the faithful, underground Church. A heartrending plea from faithful Chinese Catholics has been sent to the Cardinals and Bishops of the world: http://www.freecatholicsinchina.org. In the face of the possibility of schism in China, and the growing concern of the faithful (both priests and laity) regarding the tsunami of grave allegations relating to the Holy See, let us pray that the College of Cardinals and the Bishops of the world will consider their duty before God. Let us pray for the Church’s purification, and for the faithful Catholics of China. God bless you! Fr Glen Tattersall PP ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Parish Day of Recollection – next Saturday, 3rd March: We are privileged this Lent to have Fr Pius Noonan OSB (Founder & Prior of Notre Dame Priory, Tasmania) lead a Day of Recollection for Parishioners (visitors are also welcome). We will commence with Solemn Mass at 10 am. Fr Pius will give two spiritual conferences in the course of the day, and Confessions will be available at various times. In addition to the Church, the facilities of Maryvale and part of the school will be made available; quiet walks can also be taken in Caulfield Park. General silence will be maintained, and retreatants are asked to bring their own cut lunch (tea and coffee will be provided).